Goa Tourism News

Mantri moots Agonda for Blue Flag tag
Times of India | 3 weeks ago | |
Times of India
3 weeks ago | |

Canacona: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte said that two beaches in Canacona, including Agonda, can be recommended for Blue Flag certification considering its “richness of environment.”On Thursday, Khaunte, along with speaker and Canacona MLA Ramesh Tawadkar, was interacting with representatives of local civic bodies including Canacona municipality chairperson and councillors, sarpanchs and panch members of Agonda, Shrishthal, Poinguinim, Cotigao, Gaondongrim and Loliem-Polem and some prominent citizens at Shristhal over tourism developmental works in Canacona.Director of tourism Nikhil Dessai said that blue flag certification consists of 38 parameters. Agonda beach, which is often ranked amongst top 12 beaches of the world as a clean beach and the best among six in Asia, could be an ideal choice for Blue Flag certification, he said.Amongst the 38 parameters, water quality, safety and security, drinking water, lighting, and access-to-the-beach, are some of the parameters that a team from Denmark certifies. Certification is also not for a lifetime, but just for a year. “If you don’t maintain the same standards due to which it has earned the certification, the certificate gets revoked, so conservation and maintenance of all 38 parameters is a must,” Dessai said. “And since the Blue Flag certification is a prestigious issue for the state, the government will not allow losing this certification.”Dessai further warned of strict action by the tourism department against all non-registered tourism activities along the coast.

Mantri moots Agonda for Blue Flag tag
Hand over ports, jetties to private players for revenue: Niti to Goa
Times of India | 3 weeks ago | |
Times of India
3 weeks ago | |

PANAJI: The Niti Aayog, which held a meeting for the state government, has identified steps that Goa needs to take to mobilise financial resources and drive sector specific growth. Among the various steps identified, Niti Aayog has recommended that Goa should monetise its road infrastructure, ports and jetties, sports complexes and public transport system. Niti Aayog member V K Saraswat on Wednesday asked the state government authorities, including chief minister Pramod Sawant to explore the concessionaire model instead of privatisation of stadiums, public transport, river navigation and healthcare using an operate, maintain and transfer system. While the deliberations are still in the initial phases, Niti Aayog, which is the Centre’s apex policy think-tank, has offered to assist the state with the implementation of the asset monetisation policy. “Deliberations and discussions took place on various topics, including sustainable tourism, asset monetisation and innovative approach to raise resources, infra development through Public-Private Partnership (PPP), endurance-based policy making,” said Sawant. Under the Union Budget 2021-22, the Centre has identified monetisation of assets as one of the three pillars for enhanced and sustainable infrastructure financing in the country. The Narendra Modi government has called for the preparation of a National Monetisation Pipeline and tasked the Niti Aayog with identifying existing government infrastructure that can be handed over to private players for a fixed period. “Asset monetisation is not just a financing mechanism, but a strategy for bringing a paradigm shift in infrastructure operations, augmentation and maintenance,” said the Niti Aayog document which has been presented to the state government. The Niti Aayog has said that key infrastructure in Goa can be handed to private players for a limited period to operate, collect fees, maintain and then hand over back to the state government. Handing over stadiums and district sports complexes to private players will enable development of world class infrastructure and increase the economic profile of the locality, said the Niti Aayog. The concession period can be for 30 years and the stadiums can be utilised for mixed use. The Niti Aayog has also recommended that ports, jetties, school education, public transport, affordable housing, super speciality hospitals, medical colleges, eco-tourism and sports infrastructure can also be opportunities for public-private partnership. Opening up of the state’s health care infrastructure through the PPP model will enable the government to modernise district hospitals with the option to develop medical college without the state spending any funds. Instead, there will be an “annual income by way of revenue share or concession fee,” said the Niti Aayog. The Niti Aayog team said that it is willing to work with the Goa government to identify projects for developing through PPP route.

Hand over ports, jetties to private players for revenue: Niti to Goa
Goa: Tourism department cracks down, sends 38 illegal hotels showcause notices
Times of India | 4 weeks ago | |
Times of India
4 weeks ago | |

PANAJI: In the last two days, 27 hotels and guesthouses in South Goa and 11 in North Goa were issued showcause notices by the tourism department for operating illegally. “We have decided to name and shame illegal operators because, despite simplifying registration procedures and giving ample time to register, many have continued to operate, albeit illegally. We will deal with them strictly,” a senior tourism official said. The names of illegal hotels and other properties are made public so that tourists are not affected and they are aware before booking a room in any hotel about its legal status, the official said. It is mandatory for hotels, guesthouses, flats, bungalows and flats that are used as accommodations for tourists to register with the tourism department, a requirement under the Goa Registration of Tourist Trade Act. The legislation also empowers the tourism department to impose a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh on an erring entity, disconnect supplies of water and electricity, and seal it, if management still fails to comply with the law. “Those who intervene or oppose the process or break a seal, will be dealt with separately under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC),” he said. Tourism department, he said, has a special team to gather intelligence and track illegal hotels. Besides, deputy directors have been instructed to conduct inspections and take note of such properties and initiate action against them. “They (designated officers) can walk into a property and ask to see a registration certificate and issue a showcause notice to those not having it,” the officer said. A team of the Goa Electronics Ltd (GEL) has been helping the department to monitor social media to map illegal accommodations, he said. The officer warned that none will be spared, including high-profile people who offer a stay in their plush homes at a premium rate without registering it with the tourism department. Over the last few months, 700 to 800 hotels and other types of accommodations have registered with the department, who previously conducted business without registering. Over the years, while the hotel lobby bitterly complained about growing unregistered room inventory in the state, especially in the state’s coastal belts, the tourism department could not do much without strong legislation. The law was strengthened in July giving the department more powers to act against illegal operators.

Goa: Tourism department cracks down, sends 38 illegal hotels showcause notices
Global Expo India aims to promote exports from Goa
Times of India | 4 weeks ago | |
Times of India
4 weeks ago | |

PANAJI: The three-day Global Expo India conference began on Tuesday with industry representatives from across the country coming together to discuss ways to promote exports, foreign direct investment and the potential for manufacturing units in Goa. The event, which was supposed to be attended by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, also saw the launch of the Goa chapter of the Global Expo. Global Expo India is affiliated with the India Trade Promotion Organisation, a unit of the Centre's commerce department. "Goa has a huge potential for exports, foreign direct investment and manufacturing," said chief executive officer of Global Expo India Bhaskar Dastidar. "Goa has not come up in the global map in terms of exports and FDI. It is majorly known for tourism." Global Expo India claims to focus on export development through events and conferences, and the Goa chapter has been started in order to promote exports from Goa. "Despite being a highly literate state, Goa is not known for software and high-end hardware. This is a high potential area," said Dastidar. Over the duration of the three-day event, countries like Spain, Ecuador, El Salvador, Columbia, Ethiopia, Uganda and Mauritius will partner with Goa for investment and trade in the technology space, logistics, start-ups, research and development, agro and marine food processing, tourism and allied activities, education and entertainment sectors.

Global Expo India aims to promote exports from Goa
  • Global Expo Indiaaims to promote exports from Goa
  • Times of India

    Panaji: The three-day Global Expo India conference began on Tuesday with industry representatives from across the country coming together to discuss ways to promote exports, foreign direct investment and the potential for manufacturing units in Goa. The event, which was supposed to be attended by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, also saw the launch of the Goa chapter of the Global Expo.Global Expo India is affiliated with the India Trade Promotion Organisation, a unit of the Centre’s commerce department. “Goa has a huge potential for exports, foreign direct investment and manufacturing,” said chief executive officer of Global Expo India Bhaskar Dastidar. “Goa has not come up in the global map in terms of exports and FDI. It is majorly known for tourism.”Global Expo India claims to focus on export development through events and conferences, and the Goa chapter has been started in order to promote exports from Goa. “Despite being a highly literate state, Goa is not known for software and high-end hardware. This is a high potential area,” said Dastidar.Over the duration of the three-day event, countries like Spain, Ecuador, El Salvador, Columbia, Ethiopia, Uganda and Mauritius will partner with Goa for investment and trade in the technology space, logistics, start-ups, research and development, agro and marine food processing, tourism and allied activities, education and entertainment sectors.

Illegal extensions to 30 tourism department stalls in Colva demolished
Times of India | 4 weeks ago | |
Times of India
4 weeks ago | |

COLVA: The tourism department on Tuesday demolished the illegal extensions of 30 stalls at Colva beach on the orders of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA). The demolition commenced in the morning. A sizeable police force was present on site. A few leaseholders initially put up some protest and sought time to remove the extensions. One even tried to gain time by telling the officials that he is approaching the High Court and that he should be given time as a matter of natural justice. The tourism department constructed the 30 stalls in 1988 and subsequently leased them. In 2006, the High Court taking suo motu cognisance of extensions and constructions carried out in Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas had directed all panchayats and municipalities to submit an action taken report before the GCZMA. The tourism department in its submission to the GCZMA admitted that the stalls had been illegally extended by the lease holders following which the coastal authority, in exercise of its powers under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, directed the department to demolish all the illegal extensions. It also directed the Salcete deputy collector to submit compliance within a day of the demolition.

Illegal extensions to 30 tourism department stalls in Colva demolished
  • Illegal extensions to 30 tourism dept stalls in Colva demolished
  • Times of India

    Colva: The tourism department on Tuesday demolished the illegal extensions of 30 stalls at Colva beach on the orders of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA). The demolition commenced in the morning. A sizeable police force was present on site.A few leaseholders initially put up some protest and sought time to remove the extensions. One even tried to gain time by telling the officials that he is approaching the High Court and that he should be given time as a matter of natural justice.The tourism department constructed the 30 stalls in 1988 and subsequently leased them.In 2006, the High Court taking suo motu cognisance of extensions and constructions carried out in Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas had directed all panchayats and municipalities to submit an action taken report before the GCZMA.The tourism department in its submission to the GCZMA admitted that the stalls had been illegally extended by the lease holders following which the coastal authority, in exercise of its powers under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, directed the department to demolish all the illegal extensions. It also directed the Salcete deputy collector to submit compliance within a day of the demolition.

Goa: Will act against touts on beaches, says superintendent Shobhit Saksena
Times of India | 4 weeks ago | |
Times of India
4 weeks ago | |

CALANGUTE: Following concerns raised by tourism stakeholders in the Calangute-Candolim tourism hub about nuisance caused by touts, beggars, hawkers as well as other illegal activities along the beaches, the tourist protection unit (TPU) also known as the tourist security force has decided to step up measures. Talking to TOI during a recent visit to Candolim, superintendent of police (tourist) Shobhit Saksena, said, "Our focus is on ensuring action against illegalities at tourist places such as public drinking, touting and hawking. Over 2,000 instances have been booked this year. This will send a strong message for safe and responsible tourism," he said. Drones, body-worn cameras (BWC) and CCTVs are among some of the gear that TPU will deploy in the Calangute-Candolim beach-belt which gets swamped by a large numbers of tourists especially after Covid-induced pandemic restrictions were lifted, according to officials. "With the growing influx of tourists after Covid there is also a growing requirement of tourist police. Over the years more and more staff is being inducted in the TPU. With the tourist information centre at Candolim, six more centres are being taken over by TPU as one-stop centres for tourist assistance. In the meantime staff from the police station and vehicles are also used as force multipliers. The available staff are deployed on major beaches of north Goa," Saxena said in response to complaints by coastal panchayats that not enough police personnel are deployed. "The TPU is also in the process of introducing a multi-lingual tourist helpline for attending to tourists in their own language," he said. Calangute-based PI Damodar Naik (TPU-North) said, "Due to the vast area of responsibility it becomes difficult to restrict hawkers doing illegal business on the beach. When these hawkers see the police approaching, they immediately hide in shops and rented houses which are just next to the beach areas. Also women hawkers cannot be arrested after the sunset."

Goa: Will act against touts on beaches, says superintendent Shobhit Saksena
  • Will act against touts on beaches: SP Shobhit
  • Times of India

    Calangute: Following concerns raised by tourism stakeholders in the Calangute-Candolim tourism hub about nuisance caused by touts, beggars, hawkers as well as other illegal activities along the beaches, the tourist protection unit (TPU) also known as the tourist security force has decided to step up measures.Talking to TOI during a recent visit to Candolim, superintendent of police (tourist) Shobhit Saksena, said, “Our focus is on ensuring action against illegalities at tourist places such as public drinking, touting and hawking. Over 2,000 instances have been booked this year. This will send a strong message for safe and responsible tourism,” he said. Drones, body-worn cameras (BWC) and CCTVs are among some of the gear that TPU will deploy in the Calangute-Candolim beach-belt which gets swamped by a large numbers of tourists especially after Covid-induced pandemic restrictions were lifted, according to officials.“With the growing influx of tourists after Covid there is also a growing requirement of tourist police. Over the years more and more staff is being inducted in the TPU. With the tourist information centre at Candolim, six more centres are being taken over by TPU as one-stop centres for tourist assistance. In the meantime staff from the police station and vehicles are also used as force multipliers. The available staff are deployed on major beaches of north Goa,” Saxena said in response to complaints by coastal panchayats that not enough police personnel are deployed.“The TPU is also in the process of introducing a multi-lingual tourist helpline for attending to tourists in their own language,” he said.Calangute-based PI Damodar Naik (TPU-North) said, “Due to the vast area of responsibility it becomes difficult to restrict hawkers doing illegal business on the beach. When these hawkers see the police approaching, they immediately hide in shops and rented houses which are just next to the beach areas. Also women hawkers cannot be arrested after the sunset.”

Starting next week, Goa to get two charters per week from UK
Times of India | 4 weeks ago | |
Times of India
4 weeks ago | |

PANAJI: Days after the season's first charter from the UK, carrying around 250 passengers, landed in Goa, Tui Airways has said it will fly two charters a week from next weekend. The development has further brightened the tourism sector's hopes; they were gloomy last month after prospective British tourists started cancelling their plans to visit Goa over visa issues. Tuesday's announcement is the latest in the rollercoaster season that started with Tui initially planning four charters a week, but later changing to just one a week after the massive cancellations. "The problem of e-visas has still not been sorted out, though efforts are being made to resolve it. The paper visa is the only challenge," a tour operator said, adding that he can't comment on whether the airline will increase charters to Goa in the current season. We can’t predict the behaviour of British travellers,” he said. Even Sunday’s charter from the UK that landed in Goa had some cancellations, but the reasons behind them were not made known. The average stay of a charter tourist is around two weeks. Last year, Goa received no charters from the UK, but over 3,000 Britishers visited Goa. In 2020, the state received 1.07 lakh tourists from the UK, who came either by charter flights or as free independent travellers (FITs). A wellness service provider based at Agonda beach in Canacona — who traditionally served UK and European tourists — said that since he opened his centre for the season, there have been more domestic tourists than foreign ones. A few years ago, it was the opposite. “I don’t know what’s in store but for us, the last season was dull,” he said.

Starting next week, Goa to get two charters per week from UK
  • Starting next week, state to get two charters per week from UK
  • Times of India

    Panaji: Days after the season’s first charter from the UK, carrying around 250 passengers, landed in Goa, Tui Airways has said it will fly two charters a week from next weekend.The development has further brightened the tourism sector's hopes; they were gloomy last month after prospective British tourists started cancelling their plans to visit Goa over visa issues. Tuesday’s announcement is the latest in the rollercoaster season that started with Tui initially planning four charters a week, but later changing to just one a week after the massive cancellations.“The problem of e-visas has still not been sorted out, though efforts are being made to resolve it. The paper visa is the only challenge,” a tour operator said, adding that he can’t comment on whether the airline will increase charters to Goa in the current season. “We can’t predict the behaviour of British travellers,” he said.Even Sunday’s charter from the UK that landed in Goa had some cancellations, but the reasons behind them were not made known.The average stay of a charter tourist is around two weeks. Last year, Goa received no charters from the UK, but over 3,000 Britishers visited Goa.In 2020, the state received 1.07 lakh tourists from the UK, who came either by charter flights or as free independent travellers (FITs.A wellness service provider based at Agonda beach in Canacona — who traditionally served UK and European tourists — said that since he opened his centre for the season, there have been more domestic tourists than foreign ones.A few years ago, it was the opposite. “I don’t know what’s in store but for us, the last season was dull,” he said.

Panaji locals fear ropeway plan will increase traffic
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Residents of Campal and Miramar expressed concern over Goa Tourism Development Corporation's (GTDC) ropeway project linking Panaji to Reis Magos saying that the commercialisation of the capital's open and green spaces will lead to congestion. The citizens, who have come together under the Save Panjim initiative, said that they will put their concerns before the government and also create awareness about the disadvantages of the ropeway. "All the traffic is going to spill onto a single road. The ropeway project is something that we have to be worried about. The proposals are solely focused on expansion of casinos and entertainment tourism while the impact on the city is ignored," said architect Arminio Ribeiro. He said that the commercialisation of the waterfront area, particularly the area formerly leased out to Mandovi Riveira and the construction of a stadium in the city will only put further stress on the road infrastructure. "How does the government proposed to deal with the traffic generated by 2 to 3 million visitors annually when it is unable to deal with the current parking requirements or regulate traffic generated by current activities," said Ribeiro. He was speaking at a presentation on the proposed ropeway project at Miramar. A similar presentation was shown a week earlier in Panaji with further public discussions, walks and workshops planned for the coming weeks. Congress functionary and former bureaucrat Elvis Gomes was also present for the meeting at Miramar along with local activists.

Panaji locals fear ropeway plan will increase traffic
Goa government to spend 3cr for travel marts in Portugal, Germany, Spain, UAE in 2023
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: The tourism department will spend over Rs 3 crore to participate in international travel marts in Madrid, Lisbon, Berlin and Dubai next year. A senior government official said that the primary objective of Goa's participation is to depict the state and India as a destination for travel, and to provide a platform for Goan tour operators, travel agents, and hoteliers to showcase their products. "The target is to attract international tourists to Goa for various segments of tourism, including first itinerary travelers, wellness, MICE, leisure, monsoon, and medical tourism. Accordingly, the agency will have to evolve a strategy to achieve these goals," he said. He added that the state intends to participate in exhibitions, marts, and events, and not just in these countries, which are the "top countries based on social media statistics and quantum of visitors". The department has invited agencies to manage Goa tourism's stalls at these events. Traditionally, most of Goa's foreign tourists have come from Russia and the UK, and tourism minister Rohan Khaunte recently said that the state now can't depend on only these two countries. TOI had reported that the state tourism department is set to travel to Frankfurt, Zurich, Paris, and Vienna early next year as it strives to attract "more responsible tourists" to Goa. At a cost of Rs 1.7 crore, the government will participate in roadshows in major continental European cities just days after it pulled out of the World Travel Mart in London for the first time in two decades A senior department official said that the primary objective of these roadshows - which will take place in January and February - is for the state to compete in the international market and promote Goa (and India) as a safe and world-class destination. "Goa tourism has recently revised its strategy towards a more responsible form of tourism in line with its Tourism Master Plan and Policy, 2020," he had said.

Goa government to spend 3cr for travel marts in Portugal, Germany, Spain, UAE in 2023
  • State govt to spend Rs 3cr for travel marts in Portugal, Germany, Spain, UAE in 2023
  • Times of India

    Panaji: The tourism department will spend over Rs 3 crore to participate in international travel marts in Madrid, Lisbon, Berlin and Dubai next year.A senior government official said that the primary objective of Goa’s participation is to depict the state and India as a destination for travel, and to provide a platform for Goan tour operators, travel agents, and hoteliers to showcase their products.“The target is to attract international tourists to Goa for various segments of tourism, including first itinerary travelers, wellness, MICE, leisure, monsoon, and medical tourism. Accordingly, the agency will have to evolve a strategy to achieve these goals,” he said.He added that the state intends to participate in exhibitions, marts, and events, and not just in these countries, which are the “top countries based on social media statistics and quantum of visitors”. The department has invited agencies to manage Goa tourism’s stalls at these events. Traditionally, most of Goa’s foreign tourists have come from Russia and the UK, and tourism minister Rohan Khaunte recently said that the state now can’t depend on only these two countries.TOI had reported that the state tourism department is set to travel to Frankfurt, Zurich, Paris, and Vienna early next year as it strives to attract “more responsible tourists” to Goa. At a cost of Rs 1.7 crore, the government will participate in roadshows in major continental European cities just days after it pulled out of the World Travel Mart in London for the first time in two decadesA senior department official said that the primary objective of these roadshows — which will take place in January and February — is for the state to compete in the international market and promote Goa (and India) as a safe and world-class destination. “Goa tourism has recently revised its strategy towards a more responsible form of tourism in line with its Tourism Master Plan and Policy, 2020,” he had said.

At govt’s job fair, over 14k register for 5,500 vacancies
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: The state labour and employment department has been inundated with registrations for the mega job fair, prompting authorities to increase the duration of the event by one day. According to the department, over 14,000 candidates are vying for 5,500 job vacancies. The number of candidates is expected to increase further. In September, the unemployment rate for Goa was estimated at 10.9% and according to the government, there are around 1.4 lakh registered candidates on the Goa Employment Exchange looking for gainful employment.The job fair will commence at 9am at the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee indoor stadium on Tuesday and will end on Wednesday at 5pm. A total of 155 companies will hold recruitment drives at the venue. “The event was planned for one day but the demand was so high that we were compelled to increase the duration,” said labour and employment commissioner Raju Gawas. “Companies will be conducting interviews directly and we have requested some to extend the offer letters at the event itself, if possible.”Some of the broad sectors that are recruiting are IT, pharmaceutical, tourism and hospitality, logistics, automobiles, healthcare, banking and finance, insurance, manufacturing, sales, marketing, aviation, and cruise liners. In order to streamline the recruitment process, registered candidates will be randomly assigned slots on either of the two days.“Planning to segregate the job seekers into four slots over the two days. The slots will be at random and not based on locality. The candidate has to prove his/her potential and then it is up to the company concerned to make a selection,” said Gawas.He also announced that spot registrations will be available for candidates who have yet to register.From the hospitality sector there are 36 resorts that are looking to hire staff. Employers participating are Princess, Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises, Carnival Cruises, IHCL, Grand Hyatt, Holiday Inn, Club Mahindra, Marriott, SpiceJet, Siemens, Codemax, Geno Pharmaceutical Pvt Ltd, Kenilworth Resorts & Spa, Godrej, CMM, Karma Group, KIA, GoaMiles, Novotel, Jubilant Motor Works Pvt Ltd, amongs others.The labour and employment department has arranged for a free Kadamba bus service from Goa Medical College, Bambolim, to the stadium for the convenience of job-seekers.

At govt’s job fair, over 14k register for 5,500 vacancies
At cost of Rs 1.7 crore, Goa tourism to head to Europe to get ‘more responsible tourists’
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: The state tourism department is set to travel to Frankfurt, Zurich, Paris, and Vienna early next year as it strives to attract “more responsible tourists” to Goa. At a cost of Rs 1.7 crore, the government will participate in roadshows in major continental European cities just days after it pulled out of the World Travel Mart in London for the first time in two decades. A senior department official said that the primary objective of these roadshows — which will take place in January and February — is for the state to compete in the international market and promote Goa (and India) as a safe and world-class destination. “Goa tourism has recently revised its strategy towards a more responsible form of tourism in line with its Tourism Master Plan and Policy, 2020,” he said. The decision to participate in roadshows in cities that are not major sources of tourists comes days after tourism minister Rohan Khaunte called for a “course correction”. Stating that Goa can no longer be under the misconception that it's the sole preferred tourism destination, he said the state will look at Poland, South Korea, Japan, and the United States as new markets. Traditionally, most of Goa’s foreign tourists have come from Russia and the UK, and Khaunte said that the state now can't depend on only these two countries. In pulling out of the WTM, London, Khaunte had cited a “political bottleneck in resolving visa issues”. With e-visas not being issued to UK travellers, it will be futile to participate in the WTM, he had said. “This year, we have only gone to Singapore to promote Goa,” the tourism minister said. “After Mopa international airport starts operations, we will have connectivity to so many new places.” Thus, as it seeks to make inroads into new markets, the state has invited event management agencies empanelled with the tourism department to manage its roadshows in the four cities in Germany, Switzerland, France, and Austria. In these roadshows, the department will showcase the state’s unique experiences, niche culture, rich heritage, natural attractions, and unexplored villages, apart from its beautiful beaches all that Goa has been known for hitherto. “Given the state’s size and environmental vulnerability, the authority intends to promote quality tourism to attract more responsible tourists, who often don’t mind paying extra for good quality services that they receive,” the tourism official said. The international roadshows will also provide Goan tour operators, travel agents, and hoteliers, among others, a platform to showcase their products. “Our target is to ensure a sustained flow of international tourists for various tourism segments — first itinerary travelers, wellness, MICE, leisure, monsoon, and medical. The agencies will have to evolve a strategy to achieve these goals,” a senior officer said. The officer said that the authority intends to target prospective international customers from the following source markets, but not limited to these countries, as these are among the top based on social media statistics and the quantum of visitors. The Covid-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the global tourism industry leading to heavy revenue losses and job cuts across the board, a scenario that was no different for Goa too, the officer said.

At cost of Rs 1.7 crore, Goa tourism to head to Europe to get ‘more responsible tourists’
Phal Dessai proposes Ro-Ro ferry service, max use of river routes
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Vasco: In order to boost tourism activities in the state, river navigation minister Subhash Phal Dessai has proposed to introduce Ro-Ro ferry services and also to replace old ferry boats with new ones equipped with latest technology.A delegation led by Phal Dessai, along with Mandrem MLA Jit Arolkar and Mayem MLA Premendra Shet, visited the country’s largest shipping vessel manufacturing company, Cochin Shipyard Ltd, based in Kerala, to take stock of the new technologies adopted in the ship building activities. “We were overwhelmed with the study tour at Cochin Shipyard Ltd. We learnt about innovative ideas adopted in the manufacturing of vessels which will certainly help commuters in Goa as well as boost the state’s tourism industry. The new technology vessels (ferry boats) will bear load and have maximum speed capacity”, said Phal Dessai. He said that the river navigation department will submit a report to the state government for improvisation of waterways in the state. “We will place our report before the state government for introducing Ro-Ro ferry services and procuring new ferry boats”, said Phal Dessai.He added that his department will see that water navigation routes in the state are used to the maximum, benefiting passengers and daily commuters.Mandrem MLA Arolkar was of the opinion that introducing metro boats will boost tourism activities in the state. Shet, meanwhile, said that the introduction of new and latest technology ferry boats at the busiest navigation route in his constituency, connecting Chorao and Ribandar, will help passengers and tourists.

Phal Dessai proposes Ro-Ro ferry service, max use of river routes
Baga locals protest Goa Tourism Development Corporation parking fees, MLA backs them
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

CALANGUTE: Residents of Baga and Calangute have objected to the Goa Tourism Development Corporation’s (GTDC) move to collect parking fees from vehicle owners who park on the road at Baga end. Locals said they were taken aback after a contractor appointed by the GTDC approached vehicle owners to collect parking fees at Baga end. “We locals, shack owners, fishermen have always been parking here for years. This is a PWD road. The GTDC parking area is also there next to the road with proper fencing and tourists park their vehicles there. How can they collect parking fees from vehicles parking on a PWD road?” they said. With the situation threatening to go out of hand on Saturday evening, Calangute MLA Michael Lobo visited the spot and assured the locals to resolve the issue. A team of Calangute police was also present at the site. Lobo said there is a temple and a holy cross there and people coming to pray park their vehicles on the road. “They cannot take money from them for parking on the road. This is a PWD road,” he said, adding that he would be talking to the GTDC on Monday to resolve the issue.

Baga locals protest Goa Tourism Development Corporation parking fees, MLA backs them
  • Baga locals protest GTDC parking fees, MLA backs them
  • Times of India

    Calangute: Residents of Baga and Calangute have objected to the Goa Tourism Development Corporation’s (GTDC) move to collect parking fees from vehicle owners who park on the road at Baga end.Locals said they were taken aback after a contractor appointed by the GTDC approached vehicle owners to collect parking fees at Baga end. “We locals, shack owners, fishermen have always been parking here for years. This is a PWD road. The GTDC parking area is also there next to the road with proper fencing and tourists park their vehicles there. How can they collect parking fees from vehicles parking on a PWD road?” they said. With the situation threatening to go out of hand on Saturday evening, Calangute MLA Michael Lobo visited the spot and assured the locals to resolve the issue. A team of Calangute police was also present at the site.Lobo said there is a temple and a holy cross there and people coming to pray park their vehicles on the road. “They cannot take money from them for parking on the road. This is a PWD road,” he said, adding that he would be talking to the GTDC on Monday to resolve the issue.

Jetty policy only after all objections considered: Min
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte said on Friday said the October 31 deadline for objections and suggestions for the proposed tourism jetty policy will not be extended again. He said that the draft would be finalised only after discussing it with MLAs and others who raised objections.The tourism department has received over 100 objections. “We will not rush with the policy. Compilation of suggestions received is underway,” said Khaunte.The deadline was extended twice in the face of the objections and protests by green activists, fishermen’s bodies, and political parties. A bike rally was held in the city on Sunday against the proposed policy.Meanwhile, Congress functionary Amarnath Panjikar objected to the tourism minister’s reported statement that most of the objections received by the department against the proposed policy were “cut and paste” work.Khaunte has maintained that the policy has been planned to regulate activities at the jetties under its domain — mostly cruise ride operations — with the Santa Monica jetty receiving maximum footfalls.Khaunte said that the government wants the policy to curb illegalities, regulate the functioning of all vessel owners /operators, and wipe out the presence of touts. The policy also proposes facilities for visitors.Green activists and fishermen’s bodies are apprehensive about the proposed policy. They believe the agenda of the tourism ministry may be different, and they say the policy is vague and not substantiated by data.The draft proposes a jetty management committee, which will be responsible for identifying the carrying capacity of any river in Goa, and regulating the number of vessels that may be allowed.

Jetty policy only after all objections considered: Min
Drugs main reason for criminal activities in Goa: Shripad Naik
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Union minister of state for tourism Shripad Naik on Thursday said that drugs were the main reason behind the criminal activities in the state even as he endorsed the recent measures initiated by the state tourism department to curb illegalities in the sector. “The country’s image is maligned due to such illegalities. or when tourists are harassed. I think, drugs are the main reason of the illegalities and the government should take steps to curb them,” Naik told reports on the sidelines of a function in the city. All preparations for commissioning of the Mopa international greenfield airport, the first phase of the new Zuari bridge and All India Institute of Ayurveda at Dhargalim have been done. tnn “We want to inaugurate all the three projects at the hands of the PM, but are awaiting a confirmation of the date from the PMO,” Naik said. State tourism minister Rohan Khaunte said his department has acted against illegal boat operators, who functioned from a spot at Miramar, without adopting the necessary safety standards. “We did not intend to kill their source of livelihood and had in fact informed them to conduct the activities in the right manner, but they did not respond. We have acted against them as the safety of tourists was compromised,” Khaunte told reporters. “We have seen what happened in Morbi. Who will be responsible if tourists are hurt during boat rides,” he said. The tourism department recently issued an ordering a bunch of activities, including cooking on the roadside and selling tickets or packages to tourists promoting destinations outside Goa, as a nuisance.

Drugs main reason for criminal activities in Goa: Shripad Naik
  • Drugs main reason for criminal activities in Goa: Shripad
  • Times of India

    Panaji: Union minister of state for tourism Shripad Naik on Thursday said that drugs were the main reason behind the criminal activities in the state even as he endorsed the recent measures initiated by the state tourism department to curb illegalities in the sector.“The country’s image is maligned due to such illegalities. or when tourists are harassed. I think, drugs are the main reason of the illegalities and the government should take steps to curb them,” Naik told reports on the sidelines of a function in the city.All preparations for commissioning of the Mopa international greenfield airport, the first phase of the new Zuari bridge and All India Institute of Ayurveda at Dhargalim have been done. tnn“We want to inaugurate all the three projects at the hands of the PM, but are awaiting a confirmation of the date from the PMO,” Naik said.State tourism minister Rohan Khaunte said his department has acted against illegal boat operators, who functioned from a spot at Miramar, without adopting the necessary safety standards. “We did not intend to kill their source of livelihood and had in fact informed them to conduct the activities in the right manner, but they did not respond. We have acted against them as the safety of tourists was compromised,” Khaunte told reporters. “We have seen what happened in Morbi. Who will be responsible if tourists are hurt during boat rides,” he said.

Russia’s first flight of season lands in Goa
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

Panaji: Aeroflot’s first scheduled flight of the tourism season carrying around 280 passengers from Moscow landed at Goa International Airport at Dabolim, on Thursday morning, while the first charter from Russia is scheduled to arrive on November 13.Aeroflot, Russia's largest airline, will operate three scheduled flights a week and it is expected to raise footfalls for Goa, Sita Travels chief operating officer Ernest Dias said. According to the initial plans, Goa was going to receive three charters a week from various Russian destinations, but Dias said there may be a charter every day till the season ends.“Things are looking better than last year,” the Sita Travels COO said.In 2021-22, Goa received only 4,700 charter tourists from its biggest market Russia as the flights were discontinued after Russia-Ukraine conflict started.Goa has also received substantial number of tourists from Ukraine since 2014, and in 2019, close to 20,000 travellers from Ukraine visited Goa. The numbers however dwindled in 2020 as the world was hit by the Covid pandemic.After international travel restrictions were lifted in December 2021, the state received just 90 tourists from the war-hit country.The season’s first charter from the UK is slated to arrive on Friday. TUI Airways is slated to operate one charter a week, but numbers will not go up if visa applications are not processed expeditiously.Travel companies saw heavy cancellations by holidaymakers last month over delays in getting visa clearance.“The UK travellers still do not qualify for e-visas, so we do not know what could be the scene, but certainly footfalls from the UK will be comparatively low vis-à-vis previous year, a period before the pandemic,” said a tour operator. He said he was dejected with the UK being still left out from the list of the countries that India does not issue E-visas to.

Russia’s first flight of season lands in Goa
Goa CM Pramod Sawant asks Centre to approve flight connections for Mopa
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: With Goa’s second airport ready to commence operations, chief minister Pramod Sawant urged the Centre to approve requests for flight connections between Mopa airport and other cities. Sawant, who has written to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to inaugurate the airport, said it will be inaugurated in November or early December. Sawant also said that the state would have no role in deciding the name of the private airport, which will be operated by the GMR Group. “We are in the process of operationalising the greenfield airport at Mopa. It will open up more travel opportunities to and from Goa,” the chief minister said. “I request the ministry of civil aviation to consider any request for routes from international and domestic airlines,” he said. The chief minister was speaking at the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (Canso) Asia Pacific Conference, which was held at a city-based hotel. Union minister of state for civil aviation, General Vijay Kumar Singh (retd), said that though the aviation industry suffered heavily during the Covid-19 pandemic, domestic traffic in India has reached almost 95% of pre-Covid passenger traffic. Using the Canso conference as an example, the chief minister said that the new airport will help make Goa an international destination for conferences. “We shall play our part effectively to improve multimodal connectivity to support the state’s aviation infrastructure. With the increase in connectivity, it will be our endeavour to make Goa one of the India’s most vibrant conference destinations,” said Sawant. Singh said that Sawant has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an invitation to inaugurate the airport “this month”, and that the date will be announced soon. Sawant said that once the new airport at Mopa commences, it will “fuel the growth of tourism” and “definitely catapult” Goa to the top spot in tourism.

Goa CM Pramod Sawant asks Centre to approve flight connections for Mopa
Helpline, tourism app for visitors by December: Goa minister Rohan Khaunte
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte said that the Goa government will launch an app by December to not only provide tourists with information about all excursions, but to also give them a platform to register their complaints and grievances with the tourism department. “We are getting a lot of complaints from tourists and those legally involved in watersports activities. In the coming days, we are launching an app that will have a call centre to redress grievances. It will be ready before December. It will also provide tourists with details about all the excursions and hotels listed with the department,” Khaunte said. He said that the department will also crackdown on hotels and homestays that are not registered with the state. “At present, there are a lot of frauds in these online bookings. We have already asked operators like Airbnb, Oyo, Makemytrip, etc, to register with us. If they do not, we will be forced to act. We have provided a category for everyone, including homestays. Our deadline to register is already over and we have started taking action against hotels and, seeing this, now many are coming forward to register with us,” Khaunte said. He said that surveillance along the coast will also be improved. “We still have a small tourist security force at present. We have only 62 personnel for 104km. We need more police personnel, whether it is police or IRB. We are also looking at CCTVs for surveillance. We need to send the message of safe and clean tourism.”

Helpline, tourism app for visitors by December: Goa minister Rohan Khaunte
Goa tourism needs course change, exploring markets in US, South Korea, says Rohan Khaunte
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte on Wednesday said that post-Covid the tourism scenario has changed and Goa’s tourism masterplan accordingly needs a course correction. He said that Goa can no more be under the misconception that it is the sole preferred tourist destination. The minister said that Goa will now look at attracting tourists from new markets like Poland, South Korea, Japan and US. Goa cannot depend only on visitors from UK and Russia now, he said. “We need to look east to Poland, Czech Republic, South Korea, Japan and other markets like US, and not depend on tourists only from UK and Russia. This year, we have only gone to Singapore to promote Goa. Given the challenges we have, we will need to give equal stress on domestic and international tourists. After Mopa international airport starts, we will have connectivity to so many new places,” Khaunte said. He said that Goa is in a delicate situation now as tourism infrastructure is also being developed by neighbouring states like Maharashtra along its coast. “We have to understand that Goa is in a very delicate position as far as tourism is concerned. We are under the misconception that we are the most preferred tourism destination. If we do not correct ourselves, in the days to come, we will not remain the most preferred destination. If tourists start going to some other state, then our stakeholders will start getting affected tomorrow,” said Khaunte. On Monday, the state government declared as ‘nuisance’ various tourism-related activities: begging and drinking in tourist spaces, operation of water sports outside designated zones, selling cruise boat tickets other than from authorised kiosks, littering and cooking in open spaces, and hawking at beaches and other tourist places. Under the provision of Goa Tourist Places Protection and Maintenance Act, the violators can now be fined Rs 5,000 up to Rs 50,000, in addition to action under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). “Tourists have started talking through social media how they are being fleeced by touts. It is time that we start cleaning them. Now those creating nuisance will be fined and if they are unable to pay the fine, they can be arrested by the police. We call upon stakeholders to help crackdown on these illegalities, which are ruining the experience for the tourist,” the minister said. Tourists’ expectations are different post Covid pandemic and Goa needs to go beyond promoting sun, sand and sea, and start thinking about hinterland tourism, wellness, ecotourism etc, he said. “Today we can be threatened by coastal belts of neighbouring states which are under development. We will also take action against tourists who drink on beaches and break bottles. We have asked the chief minister to hold a joint meeting with the tourism department and excise department to tackle this, by starting a bottle deposit system,” Khaunte said. The new amendment to the act will help Goa up its tourist numbers and attract quality tourists, he said.

Goa tourism needs course change, exploring markets in US, South Korea, says Rohan Khaunte
National, international jobs on offer at govt job fair on November 8
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Goa’s labour and employment department will organise a job fair on November 8 at the Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium, Taleigao, said minister for labour and employment Atanasio Monserrate. In order to participate in the employment fair, job aspirants will have to register with the government (www.goajobfair.in), he said. “This initiative will be a significant step towards bridging the gap between job seekers and job providers. Opportunities will be available in all sectors across the country and overseas,” said Monserrate. At 13.7% in August, Goa’s unemployment rate is much higher than the national average of 7%. Job creation in the state remains inadequate and unable to cater to the several thousand graduates and post graduates who complete their studies every year. Monserrate said that companies from a wide range of sectors will be participating in the job fair. Job openings will be available in IT, pharmaceutical, tourism and hospitality, logistics, automobile, healthcare, manufacturing and sales. “I appeal to all career aspirants to be part of this mega job fair,” said Monserrate. The regional employment exchange, which is part of the office of the commissioner of labour and employment, said that interested candidates have to register prior to the event. Post registration, each candidate will be given a QR code which is mandatory for entry into the venue.

National, international jobs on offer at govt job fair on November 8
Fears of Dabolim airport closure unfounded: Centre
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Assuaging concerns about the closure of Goa International Airport, Dabolim, Union minister of state for civil aviation V K Singh on Wednesday said the Centre is firm in its decision to ensure that the airport at Dabolim and the new one at Mopa operate simultaneously. Singh said that the two airports in Goa will not compete for air traffic but will complement each other by increasing air connectivity to the state. “There have been a lot of doubts in the minds of people that because Mopa airport has been built, the airport at Dabolim will be shut. This is an unfounded perception,” said Singh after a closed-door meeting with CM Pramod Sawant and other officials. Singh cited a June 2010 Union Cabinet decision to allow both airports to function in Goa. “Unequivocally, I would like to tell you, both airports are going to function. There is no doubt in the mind of the government of India. Traffic management will be done in such as way that none of the airports suffer,” he said. “If we want to increase tourism and Goa’s economy, we need to increase air traffic. The more we add flights, the more tariffs will reduce. We need more connectivity,” said Singh. State tourism minister Rohan Khaunte, industries minister Mauvin Godinho and Airports Authority of India chairman Sanjeev Kumar were also present at the meeting that was held on the sidelines of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (Canso) Asia Pacific Conference. “There’s no competition between Mopa and Dabolim. Whatever (flights) is coming to Dabolim, if it grows within the time constraints, fine. Whatever cannot be adjusted will go to Mopa. There has to be a synergy and that is what we are working on,” said Singh. He said that the Union ministry of civil aviation will work with airlines to encourage flights from Mopa to cities and states that do no have direct flights with Goa. “If today Dabolim is connected to 20 cities, we will create connections from Mopa with 20 other cities that cannot be accommodated at Dabolim. It will not affect Dabolim. We will keep it as it functions today. Mopa will handle the additional traffic that comes in. Additional growth of traffic will take place because of space constraints and because of timing constraints at Dabolim,” said Singh. The Union minister of state also rejected suggestions that all international flights will be shifted to the GMR Airports-managed airfield while the AAI-managed enclave at Dabolim will cater only to domestic flights. “Some airlines may shift. Oman does not have too much traffic. Most of the traffic is to the Gulf, which is not shifting. There are timing restrictions at Dabolim and that is why the flights that want that timing will go to Mopa,” said Singh. He, however, added a caveat, admitting that the Indian Navy has sought additional restrictions on civilian flights at Dabolim so that military operations get priority. “Defence requirements are different. There are ongoing deliberations. They also want some increase, but the effort is to ensure that both can be accommodated,” said Singh.

Fears of Dabolim airport closure unfounded: Centre
Goa’s two airports won’t compete with each other: MoS for civil aviation V K Singh
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PANAJI: Amidst concerns about the closure of Goa International Airport in Dabolim, Union minister of state for civil aviation V K Singh on Wednesday said that the airport managed by the Airports Authority of India will operate simultaneously along with the private airport built by the GMR Group at Mopa. Singh said that the two airports will not compete for air traffic but would instead complement each other by increasing air connectivity to Goa. “There have been a lot of doubts in the minds of people that because Mopa airport has been built, the airport at Dabolim will be shut. This is an unfounded perception,” said Singh after a closed door meeting with chief minister Pramod Sawant and other officials. Singh cited a June 2010 Union cabinet decision to allow both airports to function in Goa. “Unequivocally, I would like to tell you, both airports are going to function. There is no doubt in the minds of the government of India. Traffic management will be done in such a way that none of the airports suffer. If we want to increase tourism and Goa’s economy, we need to increase air traffic. The more we add flights, the tariffs will also reduce. We need more connectivity,” said Singh. Tourism minister Rohan Khaunte, industries minister Mauvin Godinho and Airports Authority of India chairman Sanjeev Kumar were also present for the meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) Asia Pacific Conference. “There’s no competition between Mopa and Dabolim. Whatever (flight) is coming to Dabolim, if it grows within the time constraints, fine. Whatever cannot be adjusted will go to Mopa. There has to be a synergy and that is what we are working on,” said Singh Singh said that the union ministry of civil aviation will work with the airlines to encourage flights from Mopa to cities and states which do not have direct flights with Goa International Airport. “If today Dabolim is connected to 20 cities, then from Mopa we will create connections with other 20 cities, which cannot be accommodated at Dabolim. It will not affect Dabolim. We will keep it as it functions today. Mopa will handle the additional traffic that comes in. Whatever additional growth of traffic that takes place, will take place because of space constraints and because of timing constraints, at Dabolim,” said Singh.

Goa’s two airports won’t compete with each other: MoS for civil aviation V K Singh